Michael Bolton/ Kenny G.
Los Angeles, 1990
Diane had heard something by Gorelick on the radio at work, and decided that she liked his smooth style. I was able to get tickets to this sold-out show via a brokerage ($50 each), and had no idea what I was in for-I thought they might be Jazz guys like maybe Al Jarreau or Chuck Mangione or something. This was the single-most horrific musical experience of my life. Kenneth Gorelick made like a brain-dead Pied Piper as he lurched from the stage all the way up the center aisle to the lobby (keep going!); Mikey Bolton’s take-no-prisoners vocal histrionics gave new meaning to the term ‘stupefying’. Afterward, we retired to Bob’s Frolic Room in order to erase all lingering memories- double Jameson for me- though whenever I see a guy with a shiny mane of curls (not very often in Taos) or a Bolton-style mullet (seems like every day!) I’m reminded of that night, and want to be sick all over again.
Here’s something I didn’t know:
Gorelick's 1999 single, “What A Wonderful World” stirred controversy among the jazz community regarding the overdubbing of Louis Armstrong's classic recording. A common criticism was that such a revered recording by a musician known especially for improvisation should not be altered. Pat Metheny responded to this recording by saying, "With this single move, Kenny G became one of the few people on earth I can say that I really can't use at all - as a man, for his incredible arrogance to even consider such a thing, and as a musician, for presuming to share the stage with the single most important figure in our music."
Santana/ Rusted Root
Los Angeles, 1997
Two years before the massive Supernatural, we find Carlos here at his career’s ebb, preaching to the largely upscale Hispanic audience that their lowly vocational choices (itinerant farming, lawn care, dry cleaning) determine how the world sees them. Also, only meditation will heal the planet. Interminable jams follow. Saving grace: the explosive power of Cuban percussionist Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez.
And whose idea was it to allow the appalling Rusted Root a 75-minute opening set?
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